Two inseparable friends Do and Micky have their lives ripped apart when a house fire kills one and leaves the other moaning from her hospital bed. The story, based on a 1963 novel by French author Sebastian Japrisot, is told largely in flashback so as Do (yes, that’s her name) slowly recovers from her injuries so her memory of the events starts coalescing back together.
Julia (Kerry Fox) is her allocated Guardian through convalescence but she clearly has malevolent intentions, glowering next to a clock in a drawing room like a pantomime nemesis and withholding vital information that would give Do a window into the fateful accident.
When Do comes across a diary it becomes clear that she is being misled and her amnesia is being manipulated by Julia. Wait! Is she Do or is she Micky? Can her DJ boyfriend provide the answers? Will Julia wear many more unflattering twinsets to highlight her evil nature?
Iain Softley (Hackers, Backbeat) directs his first contemporary London movie, back to his roots, with obvious homages to Hitchcock’s legerdemain and enough running through streets and huge sunglasses that would suggest French New Wave is also a touchstone.
The two main actresses, Tuppence Middleton and Alexandra Roach, do work-womanlike jobs as the devout friends although it does stretch credibility that they’re so tight especially as one appears to be a charisma vacuum and the other tries a little too hard to exude the hedonistic joie de vivre which couldn’t be more of a contrast to her meek companion.
Frances De La Tour turns in a theatrical performance from the hospital bed, efficiently looking like a fossil come to life, although her role is all too fleeting and the film would have benefited more from her grandstanding theatrics. Emilia Fox has a concerned face when called upon to offer a diagnosis in an office.
Although the plot twist of mistaken identity sf a rich furrow and the ambiguity of the two actresses allows your sense of doubt to motor along at reasonably levels the hamminess of the peripheral characters with Kerry Fox in particular channeling by-numbers villainy, detracts from the strength of this narrative.
There’s a farcical fight in a swimming pool which belongs in the imagination only and some other wood based acting where any sense of unease is jettisoned in favour of throwaway scenes unnecessary to the plot.
Softley displays enough flashes of panache to suggest that this is just a minor deviation to his impressive rack of a CV so it’s fine to ignore the ending that ties up all the loose ends with unwieldy club hands. For anyone a strange affiliation for B movies with delusions of edginess put this on, in the background.
Read our on set interview with Alexandra Roach Here